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Thanksgiving Video Conference Call with Military Service Personnel — White House Flickr Account, Public Domain

A Open Letter to My Trump Supporter Friends

Trump lost and it was pretty predictable he would in retrospect

I imagine I have a few friends who perhaps think Donald Trump won the 2020 election and there’s some sort of fraud involved in Biden winning. I want to make a few quick points, not be to be argumentative, but primarily because I think the rhetoric in some quarters (elected officials, QAnon types, Rudy Giuliani, Trump himself) is getting down right dangerous to the point that it could incite violence. Considering that many have been receiving death threats and QAnon organized placing a noose outside one 20-year-old Dominion employee’s Georgia home, I’d say we’re already there.

Trump didn’t win and it wasn’t difficult to predict he probably wouldn’t in advance. (Though, certainly, no one could say for sure, in the days leading up to election.) But as a lot of misinformation is getting tossed around right now, I think we should keep the following 6 points in mind to avoid something awful happening here.

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The approval ratings for previous U.S. Presidents in their re-election years.

1. Trump has always been a historically unpopular President. He’s the least popular U.S. President since Gerald Ford. That means Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. were more popular than him and they were both one-term Presidents. Carter’s dipped lower by Election Day, but he still averaged higher overall than Trump.

2. The polls pretty consistently showed Trump losing to Biden in the lead up to the election, even if the days around the election seemed fraught with the unknown.

—Article from The National Review, leading conservative publication

3. Biden led Trump in 6 swing states before the election, including every single one he’s been contesting since election day (except the surprise one, Georgia).

4. Trump actively discouraged his supporters from voting by mail while the Democrats encouraged their voters to do so as a safer way of voting during the pandemic. This dynamic lead those watching the upcoming election to predict there would be a “blue shift” or “red mirage” where it looked like Trump lead in some places election night, but that the results would change as votes continued to roll in. This dynamic was predicted well in advance of the election and had been described even in previous elections. Trump and some of his most avid supporters are trying to present this as evidence of fraud. It’s simply not.

“The ‘Big Blue Shift’ That Could Decide the Presidency,”—Mark Niquette and Laurence Arnold, Bloomberg, 2 October 2020 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-10-02/the-big-blue-shift-that-could-spell-election-mayhem-quicktake

5. Trump has always suggested (in advance) that if he lost, it’d be because of fraud. He did this in the lead up to the last election, too, when he ended up winning against Hillary Clinton. This is a technique he’s used repeatedly to reassure people that he couldn’t actually lose. But that doesn’t make it true. In fact, this all fits the pattern for Trump, a man, who many of us have warned for years is not one who pays much allegiance to the truth.

— Note: This article is from 2016, not 2020

Now, I know these thoughts won’t change too many minds. But I offer them to reasonable folks who may be on the fence or, perhaps, who do believe Trump should have won, but are open to considering all the angles. It was not likely that Trump would win this election. All signs pointed to the likelihood he wouldn’t. And, in fact, he didn’t.

Folks often joke that we New Yorkers live in a liberal bubble. And we do. But we all live in our bubbles. And I understand how, if you’re living in a situation where most of your friends are Trump supporters, most of your fellow church-goers are Trump supporters, many or most of your co-workers are Trump supporters, then you might think he won.

But he didn’t. And the rhetoric is getting dangerous. Michael Flynn, who Trump recently exonerated, is among a group of people suggesting that Trump should utilize the military to “suspend the Constitution” and hold a new Presidential election. This is dangerous stuff. I doubt it will happen. But it’s the sort of thinking Trump himself, sadly, encourages. And that could lead to violence and even death.

Help us make that stop.

Update: Post-Election Court Cases*

As of this writing, Trump and his lawyers (notably the increasingly erratic Rudy Giuliani and his alternating sidekicks) have won only 1 in nearly 50 court cases attempting to prove widespread fraud or any sort of voter malfeasance that, if reversed, would result in Trump winning the 2020 election. Also, note that the one case the Trump side won did not establish any fraud at all. In fact, despite claiming fraud repeatedly, Giuliani, placed under oath, admitted “This is not a fraud case.”

Now, either that means there’s an incredibly elaborate multi-state conspiracy to cover up fraud — which would have to include many judges (many of them Republican-appointed), Republican governors and Secretaries of State, and Attorney General Bill Barr — or, it’s far, far more likely, as Occam’s Razor suggests, that the Trump administration has simply filed a whole bunch of baseless and even frivolous claims about fraud for which they lack any evidence.

And finally?

*Updated 12/7/2020 as the number failed court cases on behalf of Trump’s election bid becomes increasingly notable

Robert A Stribley

@stribs

Writer. Photographer. Interests: immigration, privacy, security, human rights, design. UX: Publicis Sapient. Teach: SVA. Student: NYU’s Global Affairs program.

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